Thursday, November 20, 2014

Amy Bruni's Ghost Photo

She may no longer be a member of The Atlantic Paranormal Society, but Amy Bruni is still in the paranormal news.  On November 18, 2014 she posted a photo to her Facebook fan page with the following information:

"28 years ago I took this photo. It has been lost for probably the last decade or so, but we finally just found it in an old album stashed away in my mothers house, (it has clearly been damaged over time.)  The girl in the photo is my little sister...I was just playing with the camera and making her pose.  But, there's someone on the porch...and that person wasn't there when I took the picture...and they aren't casting any shadow.  My mother to this to our photographer neighbor at the time, who was completely dumbfounded by the photo - because before we moved into this house, the old woman who had lived there passed away in it. Every day, when her husband went to work or ran errands, she would diligently wait for him on the porch, right where this figure is standing. In all my years looking at photos, maybe half a dozen have impressed me...this is one of them.  I'm so glad we finally found it."

It certainly looks as if there is some interesting anomaly in the photograph, and certainly Amy Bruni, with her investigation skills and background, would be reasonably well-educated enough to make an assessment. However, I have to play Devil's Advocate a minute, and use this photo as a great example of one of the many frustrations myself, as well as other paranormal researchers, face when it comes to assessing another person's photograph.

A major piece of information that is needed when analyzing a photo is the owner's information on it.  Why was it taken?  When?  Where? What was going on at the time and who was present?  A visual assessment based on a knowledge of photographic principals, as well as using certain tools such as EXIF data and error level analysis software, certainly help fill in the missing pieces, but they can only give us so much.  Some mysteries, in order to solve, require that human element...and the whole thing relies on an honest and accurate description.

Unfortunately, humans are notoriously bad witnesses.  Let's use this photo for an example.  The photograph was taken 28 years ago when Amy was a child. No one even saw it for the last ten years.  There is a very good chance that certain details could have been forgotten over time...or even changed over time through each re-telling of the story of the spooky photograph.

Even if the photograph was just taken yesterday, many people simply aren't consciously aware of certain details around them. She was probably having fun with her sister, concentrating on 'making her pose.' Was she really paying attention to what was going on outside during that fleeting moment the photograph was taken?  I see this over and over again with photos submitted as paranormal proof---the anomaly turns out to be a real person who just happened to wander into the shot, un-noticed by the subject and the photographer.

Obviously, I cannot claim that this is what happened with Amy's photo, and a more thorough analysis would have to be done in order to make a more accurate assessment.  Without doing such an in-depth study, it does appear that there is something possibly paranormal in this photo!

But, please keep this in mind when you're submitting a photo for analysis or if you are assessing one and the person claims that there was no one else around....especially if they are outside or in a public place.  These people might not necessarily be giving you false information or lying to you; they might simply be telling you what they honestly perceive was the circumstance.

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